(Roseville, West Midlands)
Subversion of a name: you may be led
to picture foxglove strand and windmill sail.
The proper truth’s one more ‘Dunroamin’ vale
where, way ahead of snow, the trees play dead.
A no-place, linking Bilston’s pointless grime
to tailbacks on the Birmingham New Road;
a raw park, station, pub: the faceless mode
of now, a tunnel for the gust of time.
Perhaps. Yet schoolyears found me sprinting through
its dogleg ways at five. And that first date
secured me to its bus stop, to the view
of pyre and depot. Even now, though late
and speeding past, I brake, pull in and gaze
at all that curtained fastness, all those days.
Michael W. Thomas’s latest title is The Stations of the Day (Black Pear, 2019). His work has appeared in The Antioch Review, Critical Survey and the TLS, among others. http://www.michaelwthomas.co.